Country of Origin
The ‘Border’ in ‘Border Collie’ refers to the breed’s origins on the borders of England and Scotland. In 1873, the first sheepdog trials were held in Britain to test a variety of sheepherding breeds with different behavioral and physical characteristics. One entrant, Hemp, impressed all with his ability to manipulate sheep through his intense glare rather than with constant barking. Hemp went on to sire many pups, becoming the father of the modern Border Collie. By 1906, the first standard for Border Collies was written, which emphasized behavioral abilities over appearance. Border Collies were imported to America in the twentieth century, where they became popular working dogs and pets. Their speed and stamina makes them top competitors in dog sports such as Flyball and Frisbee. Famous Border Collies include the title character from ‘Nop’s Trials’ and Rico, a Border Collie who was trained to identify over 250 objects by name.
The Border Collie has a shoulder height of 46-56 cm (18-22 in) and weighs 12-20 kg (27-45 lbs). It is a fast, powerful, medium sized breed with dark brown or blue eyes (merles only), erect ears, and an arched back. Border Collies have low set tails, oval feet, and a scissors bite. They have a wide skull and visible stop (point at which the forehead and muzzle meet).
The Border Collie may have any color coat, including solid, bicolor, tricolor, merle (lighter coat with speckled patches), or sable (light undercoat with black-tipped hairs), but white should not be predominant. The most common color combination is black with white markings. The undercoat is thick, medium-length, and shiny. Border Collies are average shedders.
Intelligent, determined and brave, the Border Collie forms a close bond with its family and is also eager to work (or play). Border Collies are exceptionally energetic, loving, and likeable. They may be our favorite breed (shhhhh! – we love all puppies the same).
The Border Collie gets along quite well with other pets and children, provided it has plenty of activity to keep it occupied. It may get along more easily with dogs of the opposite sex. Border Collies should be socialized with small, non-canine pets when young to overcome the prey instinct. They may snap, especially as adolescents.
The Border Collie must have its coat brushed and combed weekly, but more often when shedding. Bathe only when necessary. Border Collies can live outside in cool or warm climates, provided sufficient companionship is provided. They will become destructive if ignored or insufficiently exercised, especially if left alone for long periods. They have a life span of 12-15 years and litters of 5-7 pups.
The Border Collie's tremendous intelligence and desire to please make training fairly simple. Border Collies are sensitive and live for their master’s praise. They are very obedient and agile, able to be taught a great variety of tricks. They are eager to learn and play sports and games.
If not given work to do, the Border Collie will become badly behaved. Having originated as a sheepdog and cattle-herder, the Border Collie is highly work-focused and most happy when given specific tasks on a regular basis. Border Collies especially love active sports such as Frisbee. They are not suited to apartment life.